COVID-19 is Reshaping U.S. Workforce Demographics

Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, evidence of longer-term damage to the labor market is emerging, according to separate analyses of detailed monthly jobs data by labor economists and Reuters.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, women and workers age 65 and older comprise a disproportionate share of the 3.7 million people no longer working or actively seeking a job since start of the pandemic.

  • People 65 and older made up less than 7% of the workforce in February, but 17% of those who have left the labor market through August.
  • Women previously accounted for 47% of the workforce but represent 54% of the departed workers.

Reuters notes that as retirements increase, women fail to quickly return to the job market, and “temporary” furloughs become permanent these trends could weigh on the economic recovery in the short term as well as the country’s prospects in the long term.